Don’t Forget to RSVP: RSVP Law

rsvplaw

Looking for a lawyer? Looking for a legal information library? You could RSVP. RSVP Law is an online service whose core offering is connecting clients with lawyers. Users of the service provide their contact information and specific needs, which are routed to an actual live person who will assist in finding matches that meet the criteria. Users can submit a request for a lawyer in very modern ways — by texting, Facebooking (is that a verb?), or tweeting — as well as more conventional ways like using the website form, emailing or by telephone. The service appears to be in the new-er side, as I was unable to find any reviews. You can find more on their website at the link above.

What caught my attention about RSVP Law is its other aspect – creation of a free resource. RSVP Law is building a free-to-access online library of legal information. I would love to check this out, as I really like free resources. From the website, it appears that the resource is focused on offering context (location, type of business, availability) and ease of access (using your thumb, which I presume means mobile-friendly). RSVP Law is also taking requests on resources of interest on the page. However, it is currently in Private Beta. You can request a spot in their early access. To get access, text the number 760-230-0202, with the phrase Beta List #realhelpisfree access#realhelpisfree. Priority access is offered to existing BetaList users. Or you can visit the early access page here. I have and, if I can get in, I will update the post with my opinions on the resource.

Neil Alonzo is the co-founder and Managing Director for RSVP Law. He has a background as an agent through his business Vocal Marketing Group. I have to hand it to Neil on website design – the site looks slick and is very easy to navigate, even if a bit bereft of detail.

If you have used the service or have access to the private beta, would love to get your thoughts in the comments.

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Need It Simpler? Simple English Wikipedia Is For You

I know what you’re thinking. Simpler Wikipedia? If you find yourself struggling with the language in some of the more technically challenging Wikipedia articles, then maybe you see the utility. Simple English Wikipedia is a version of Wikipedia, indeed a Wikimedia property, that contains simple, straightforward and to the point articles on various topics. Unfortunately, not quite as many topics as the big cousin, English Wikipedia. 86,169 compared to 4,032,663. CTangent, an Admin for Wikmedia’s “simple” cousin, explains it thusly on Reddit:

 

SEWiki was designed for non-native speakers of English that are hoping to improve their command of the language. SEWikipedia, unfortunately, has been used as a political platform at the cost of the integrity of the project. For aspiring administrators of the full English Wikipedia, being an admin of the SEWikipedia is a nice thing to put on the resume. Many of these people would make very terrible administrators for various reasons. However, since SEWikipedia is so small, they can often gain adminship on this smaller wiki and use it to slingshot to a position of power on the English Wikipedia. In fact, when I was there, one of the founding members was de-adminned and banned by the other admins (including me) because he was using the SEWikipedia to prove a political point to the members of the English Wikipedia, who had banned him before. In principle, though, it’s a good idea. Technical articles are simplified for the layman, and non-technical articles are written so that non-native speakers can learn the language. There was a simple english Wiktionary too, but I think that got killed by the powers that be in Wikimedia.

 

I get it. Power struggle. All machinations aside, I can see why it could be useful even for English-speakers, particularly on highly technical articles. Some of the scientific articles I have read have left me bleary-eyed and cotton-brained. And I practice insurance law and read policies for a living. Having a simple English explanation for string theory would, at the very least, make me sound like I sort of know what I am talking about when my child asks me for help with his science homework.

 

So, how does Simple Wikipedia look and compare? Take the following two examples on the heading “Jurisdiction”, the first from Simple Wikipedia and the second from English Wikipedia. While I understand which version offers a better education on the topic, let’s be serious here,which would you rather read?:

 

 

 

 

Do A Google Search Only In Government Websites

 

Yes, I am taking the Power Searching with Google Course. Yes, I am learning lots of cool stuff. No, this is not one of the things I learned from the course. But it is a helpful tip nonetheless.

 

I did something similar with all of the State Insurance Department Websites, the NAIC, and a couple of other good insurance specific sites with reliable information. If you want to do it yourself, you can create your own custom Google search engine and plug in the sites you want to troll when you want to get right to the point.

 

According to ResearchBuzz, there used to be something called Uncle Sam Google Search, which was shut down last year. This allowed you to search all the government websites. You can always insert the [site: _____.gov] search qualifier, but if you have a lot of government sites to view, this would be very unwieldy.

 

So, the nice author / editor at ResearchBuzz created a custom Google Search for all .gov state, county and city sites imaginable. You can find it here. Here is the post describing why and how it was created. It is a very useful site – I recommend you bookmark it.

 

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the tool! And, a tip I did learn from the Power Searching course – you may notice that when you search for a larger, more well-known site, or government site, the Google results page may show the hit with a small search box under the abstract – if you type your search in there, you will search that particular site! Pretty cool indeed.

 

UPDATE: how timely! Today’s Power Searching course talked about various Google operators. The [site:] operator was discussed. Little did I know, you can use this operator with just the higher level domain and not the site identifier. In other words [site:.gov] will search in every site that has .gov as a domain. Similarly, [site:edu] will search all sites with an .edu domain. Very helpful to know.

Zillman's Annotated Academic & Scholarly Search Sources

 

Another great resource from research whiz Marcus Zillman over at LLRX – Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources – An Annotated Link Compilation. In Mr. Zillman’s own words:

 

This new guide focuses on the latest and most significant academic and scholar search engines and sources. With the constant addition of new and pertinent information released online from every sector, it is very easy to experience information overload. A real asset in responding to the challenges of so much data is to apply techniques to identify and locate significant, reliable academic and scholarly information that resides in both the visible and invisible web. The following selected academic and scholar search engines and sources offer a wide range of actionable information retrieval and extraction sources to help you accomplish your research goals. 

 

There’s a metric tonne of good stuff in his list. Have at it!

 

 

Social Media ProBook – Resource for Power Users

Every so often, these social media companies come out with a free resource to get you to pay attention to their expertise. That isn’t a bad thing – you can often get some great, free information or, at the least, jumping-off points for more study if so desired. Eloqua is one of those companies that sell revenue generation using new media and the Web and they are savvy enough to turn to some real experts in the social media realm for their very slick, graphically pleasing new tome: The Social Media ProBrook. You can download this eBook and perused at your pleasure. Whether you believe there is such a thing as a “social media expert” or not, there are definitely gems in this book. Check it out and get Social Media – smarter. And check out their blog post introducing the resource here.

Bringing Style Up To Speed

Back in April (link here), I breathed a sigh of relief as the AP announced it was now permissible to write website, instead of web site. I am back to tell you that the 2010 AP Stylebook Online (link here) is now out in all its glory, with more help for other modern terms. Some history on the Stylebook:

The Stylebook was first produced in 1953 as a stapled collection of rules totaling 60 pages, and has grown to a publication of more than 450 pages today. The book’s creation was prompted in part by a technical change in the way the AP transmitted news as well as a need for consistency among a worldwide editorial staff that produced stories for newspapers with a variety of style preferences. There have been major periodic revisions over the past few decades, the last in 2008, and the print edition is now updated annually.

The new guidelines include many entries pertaining to social media usage. Many will come as no surprise (new ways to use the terms “fan”, “friend”, “trending”, “retweet”, “unfriend” and “follow”). Others make me scratch my head a bit (separating out smartphone into smart phone and hyphenating e-reader). Thankfully, the AP guidelines discuss some common sense rules for journalists as to how to use (and not use) social media in their research and reporting. As well as a healthy dose of acronyms generated by the texting generation. Go figure. From the site:

The new Social Media Guidelines section includes information and policies on using tools like Facebook and Twitter, how journalists can apply them to their work and how to verify sources found through them. Also included are 42 separate entries on such terms as app, blogs, click-throughs, friend and unfriend, metadata, RSS, search engine optimization, smart phone, trending, widget and wiki.

Just so you know, Web is capitalized when it is used as the shortened form of World Wide Web and e-mail is still hyphenated. You can buy the Stylebook here (link).